By David Krueger Herald Writer
EVERETT — The Everett AquaSox got their coveted first off day of the season on Monday, and while the players and coaches didn’t play baseball, they still weren’t very far from it.
The team visited Safeco Field, the home of their parent club, to watch the Seattle Mariners take batting practice, as well as get a media tutorial from the big league club. They also got to stay and take in Seattle’s 2-0 victory over Minnesota
“The guys went down there and they had a great time,” Everett manager Dave Valle said. “They had a chance to see Major League Baseball players and how they work.”
It was the first time seeing the ballpark for most of the Frogs’ players, including infielder Nelson Ward, who hails from Marietta, Ga.
“It was really fun to get to see it,” Ward said. “It’s a beautiful field, beautiful park.”
Ward also got a chance to talk with Mariners’ infielder Willie Bloomquist, who spent time on the AquaSox during the 1999 season. Getting a chance to talk to a big league player and pick his brain was huge, Ward said.
“He’s a great guy,” Ward said of Bloomquist. “He just said, ‘It’s a grind. Just keep working, make all the routine plays and be a solid player. Just do what you do and move up the ranks.’ You’re talking to a guy that did it. It’s really nice to hear that from somebody like that.”
Said pitcher Jeffeson Medina: “Going to the game — and seeing the big league team win — was very cool.”
Ward said spirits were high at Safeco Field during the off day, with the AquaSox coming off a big 11-5 win over Tri-City that snapped a five-game losing streak.
“Losing is no fun,” Ward said. “Winning, and having an off day to take in the win, was nice. It’s good to not still be on that losing streak.”
Aside from the visit to Safeco Field, Valle found another way to unwind on the off day.
“I did yard work,” Valle said. “I think the guys enjoyed getting away from the game for a day. They work hard every day and it’s nice to have both a mental and physical day off.”